Wrestling begins season with strong senior leadership

by Brandon OrtaleStaff Writer

Wrestling season is right around the corner as a younger and smaller Simpson squad looks forward to another successful season.

Head Coach Ron Peterson said there are 22 wrestlers on the roster. He knows he has a small team with smaller wrestlers.

The weakness is the lack of experience at six or seven weight classes,” Peterson said. “We need guys to grow up quickly and perform like upperclassmen.”

According to Peterson, the team is working hard on fundamentals.

“I believe the coaching staff has put together a plan that will allow us to peak at conference and national time,” Peterson said.

A big goal for the team is to finish in the top ten at the national tournament.

“We have placed in the top ten the past three seasons and I would like to continue that string,” Peterson said.

Peterson feels it is possible again with great leadership and commitment.

“The strength is the leadership of our three senior captains, Tom Koch, Kellen Delaney and Tony Hager, who have done a great job of taking on a tough situation and staying strong,” Peterson said. “It is fun to come to the room everyday and have guys ready to get after it. In the first three weeks, I have not heard one person complain or groan about the hard workouts.”

Peterson described his three captains’ strong points, starting with Delaney, as a dedicated and complete wrestler, Koch as a hardnosed competitor, and Hager as a team guy.

“Hager is great on his feet, and I’m looking forward to watching him wrestle,” Peterson said. “Koch is not afraid to mix it up with anyone, and he has worked very hard, and I look for big things from him. Delaney will be one of the top wrestlers in the country at his weight class.”

According to Delaney, he wrestled one of the top guys last year in a higher class at 184 pounds and gave him a good match

“As a wrestler I want to do my best and reach my full potential and make the national tournament,” Delaney said. “As a team, we need to work as hard as we can, stay out of trouble, and our best.”

Delaney feels he doesn’t just bring leadership to the team, but a sense of humor.

“I think I bring a sense of humor, so my teammates can relax and not be stressed and also help make working out fun.”

Hager remembered going undefeated in Las Vegas over winter break and said he brings confidence to the younger wrestlers.

“We have good team unity because we are small and everyone knows each other,” Hager said. “We are small and young because there are only three seniors on the team and one junior.”

Even though they are small in size and numbers, Hager believes the team can be successful.

“We lift and run two days a week, and most of the wrestlers don’t drink any pop, while maintaining weight during the season,” Hager said.

Peterson said he wants his wrestlers to be good people on and off the mat by being role models who are actively involved on campus.

“Our wrestling room has produced nine All-American certificates in the past three years. It is hard to replace that kind of talent,” Peterson said. “However, the upperclassmen feel confident they can step up and become the next group of All-Americans.